Wildlife Assessments and Surveys

Trail camera images

We have currently access to 5 trail cameras, which are used to help with our research about the British wildlife and also to support land owners and managers to manage their property in a wildlife friendly manner and in line with wildlife regulations and the local Biodiversity Action Plan.

There may be various reasons why people would like to know what wildlife is living on or visiting their property. If you own or manage a natural habitat area or rural farmland you may want to know what kind of wildlife is coming and going just out of interest. On the other hand the knowledge about wildlife activities will also help with the management of your property as there are some legal obligations, which need to be taken into consideration.

Many people know that ecological surveys are a must for development projects in order to ensure that regulations in view of protected species are not breached. Some of these regulations apply however also to the day-to-day and seasonal land management. For example badgers are not allowed to be disturbed in their setts and the setts are not allowed to be destroyed or damaged. Although DEFRA has provided a little bit of leeway with their 'Common Sense Rules', these rules still uphold the protection of badgers in the above-mentioned sense.

Another reason why you might be interested in finding out what is happening on your land could be a problem for or maybe only a potential impact on the wildlife through other activities, including public use of the property. Finding out what wildlife species are using a nature reserve or farmland, and also which part is used by what species, may help already to get a better understanding on potential impact on wildlife. Some species adapt more easily to disturbance, while others will retreat to quieter areas. This means disturbance in some areas may lead to the wildlife seeking refuge in areas, where they may not be welcome, e.g a corn field.

Wildlife tracks

Our trail camera surveys start off with an Initial Wildlife Assessment. This will be a brief walkthrough survey or a more systematic review of a specific area. During the initial assessment we will be looking for any signs of wildlife activity, which can be evaluated visually. Such signs include animal paths, foot- or paw prints, hair, scratch marks, faeces, discarded bedding and earth entrances.

Based on the initial wildlife assessment, we can place trail cameras to verify what species use areas, whether they are living in or visiting the area (have burrows, dens or setts) and whether there is a potential impact on them or by them.

Trail camera

We use Bushnell trail cameras with infrared light to avoid animals being negatively impacted by bright light. For monitoring earth entrances and also for cases where people may pass the monitored area, we have 2 trail cameras with black LED light, meaning the infrared light is invisible. Our policy is to position trail cameras in a way that they monitor wildlife not people, meaning the cameras are off public paths and angled generally at a lower level (unless we are looking for deer). If a customer would like however to take advantage of monitor problems for wildlife, which may result from public use of the property, we are happy to discuss and accommodate these requirements. In this case the public needs to be made aware of cameras being used to monitor wildlife and any potential impact on it.

Our Initial Wildlife Assessment and Trail Camera Surveys could also include an analysis of non-wildlife activities. This would cover signs of damages to trees, fences and vegetation as well as indication of littering, fires and dog fouling. The findings of the assessment of non-wildlife activity would be documented and customers will receive a report (detail level depending on agreed scope).

Please e-mail us at info@photography4bigcats.co.uk if you are interested to learn more about the wildlife on your land.